The line has been designed to carry the large volume of renewable energy being built and generated in the Highlands of Scotland to the centres of population, taking advantage of the wind resource in the area and decarbonising electricity supplies for households and businesses.
Mark Mathieson, Managing Director of Networks at SSE, said: “This is a proud moment for SSE. Our progress is testament to the teamwork which identified the need for the line, guided it through planning and has now delivered the first section of the UK’s longest transmission line through some of its most challenging terrain.
“Over the past two years, the project has generated around £86 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy and created around 1,500 jobs1. We hope to replicate the positive benefits from this project with the other grid upgrades that SHE Transmission is progressing as part of a multi billion pound investment programme which will help increase security of supply, decarbonise electricity supplies and promote sustainable economic growth.”
David Gardner, Director of Transmission added: “Construction of the north section started in 2010 and we have now completed 136 towers, over 50km of overhead line and three substations. With energisation, we have successfully integrated the north section of Beauly Denny into our wider network.
“This is a complex electrical engineering project, requiring a high level of skill and care. The teams involved in constructing the towers, substations and overhead lines have been exceptional. We look forward to completing the next two sections which, along with the section being completed by Scottish Power Transmission around Stirling, will lead to full energisation in 2015 and the connection of up to 1.2GW of renewable energy, making a significant contribution to renewable energy targets.
“Our multi billion pound programme of grid upgrades for the north of Scotland is gaining momentum and our success in energising the north section of Beauly Denny is further evidence of the significant progress being made.”
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “This newly upgraded line will help support many renewable energy projects in the north of Scotland, providing thousands of homes and businesses across the country with clean renewable electricity.
“Upgrading grid infrastructure is one of our biggest challenges in reaching the 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables and its major investment projects like the Beauly-Denny transmission line which will help us achieve this.”